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elections in november. nbc's tracie potts joins us. good morning, tracie. >> reporter: what to do about taxes. the senate confirmed what the house already said, this is not going to happen before you go to the polls in november. senate democrats got together, but could not agree on how to move forward. the issue is whether or not to preserve the bush tax cuts for everyone or just for the middle class and let taxes go up on the wealthy. it is a political hot potato headed into november. not one that the democrats now say they want to touch before you go to the polls, however, what they did back, a small business bill, $30 billion, a new fund to help small businesses get loans. this was mainly a democratic issue. the idea here is that if businesses have more cash, they'll hire people, buy equipment, expand and help pull this economy out of a slump. the gop called it a bailout. their plan is their new pledge to america, a government that's too big, they say is something they want to get rid of if they're elected in november. they also want to expand tax cuts and several other measures that
>>> plugged up. the blown-out bp well that caused the largest oil spill in u.s. history is finally declared dead. >>> home sweet home. an american hiker jailed in iran for more than a year speaks out. >>> and house arrest. actor randy quaid and his wife in hot water again. this time, accused of squatting. >>> good morning. i'm lynn berry. those stories and more straight ahead this is "first look" on msnbc. >>> we begin this morning with mission final accomplished. bp says a permanent seal is now in place on its blown-out well at the bottom of the gulf of mexico. however, killing the catastrophic well off is a bittersweet victory for gulf coast residents, who fear they'll be battling the effects of the nation's worst environmental disaster for years to come. nbc's jay gray has our report. >> reporter: it began april 20th with a massive fireball and deadly flames cutting through the night air. as the deepwater horizon rig exploded, then collapsed, 11 lives were lost. and oil began to seep into the gulf, the start of the worst spill in u.s. history. now, 154 days later, government sci
i'm keith olbermann. good night and good luck. please join us for the live edition of "countdown" every weeknight at 8:00 eastern/5:00 pacific. >>> sounding off. president obama goes face to face with americans frustrated with the economic slump. >>> feline fiasco. a woman in england faces the music for tossing a cat into a garbage bin. >>> and terror in the stands. horrifying moments as a bleacher packed with spectators collapses in brazil. good morning, i'm lynn berry. those stories and more are straight ahead. this is "first look" on msnbc. >>> we begin this morning with on the defensive. at a town hall held by cnbc in the nation's capital, president obama held his ground while frustrated citizens took turns taking shots at his economic strategy. the president repeatedly defended his policies while fielding pointed questions from americans who fear the worst from the economy. nbc's steve handelsman has more. >> quite frankly, i'm exhausted. i'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration. >> reporter: self-described obama supporters laid into him live on cnbc's t
spoke about the u.n. goals to reduce poverty and disease by 2015. he said the u.s. had developed its own policy changing the way it does business to help the country as well as the world reach those goals. today he is expected to focus on continuing rebuilding international relations and also paying attention to much of what's going on in the middle east, many of the foreign policy issues left over from the bush administration that are still ongoing that include the situation in iraq, combat units, of course, left there at the end of august but still 50,000 u.s. troops remain there training security forces, of course, troops in afghanistan have also been increased as well as the attacks from insurgents that have also increased in that region and, of course, there is also talk with north korea and iran that they're defying international pressure to stop their nuclear weapons programs and, of course, peace talks between israeli and palestinian leaders, got a jump start earlier this .but so far no more direct talks are planned. a lot for the president to tackle in just a few hours. >> miche
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